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Finding Hope in Farmland

Somali Bantu refugees overcome unthinkable obstacles and start a farm in upstate New York.

Shown as part of Fresh Fest: A Food + Farming Film Festival
Available Friday, May 7 through Thursday, May 13 only

This short documentary is the story of a refugee community seeking to revive their agrarian heritage. The Somali Bantu refugees in Utica New York arrived in the U.S. in the late 1990s. A marginalized agrarian peoples from Southeast Africa, the Bantu had endured centuries of oppression and slavery. In 1991, during the Somali Civil war, about 12,000 Somali Bantu people were displaced to Kenyan refugee camps and in the late 1990s many were identified by the United Nations as an “extremely vulnerable” people “who could not return to their home country.”

Arriving in the U.S. as refugees, many eventually resettled to the rustbelt cities of upstate New York that were experiencing industrial decline and population loss. As they rebuild their communities in New York State, many dreamt of reviving their agrarian heritage and providing food for their community. Finding Hope in Farmland follows their quest for land and their relationship with farming advocates at Cornell Cooperative Extension who helped them realize their dream.

Fresh Fest is supported in part by the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. Fresh Fest is also sponsored by Storey Publishing and the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies.

Director: Dave Simonds

Runtime: 15 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Free, POC

Year: 2021

Country: United States

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The Long Coast

"A meditative mix of interviews, striking but unobtrusive cinematography, and, yes, Maine's uniquely picturesque, majestic coastal beauty."
— Portland Herald

Shown as part of Fresh Fest: A Food + Farming Film Festival
Available Friday, May 7 through Thursday, May 13 only

In a series of lyrical portraits, The Long Coast illuminates the stories of Maine’s fisher people, those whose lives and livelihoods are inextricably connected to the ocean. This atmospheric film shows the beauty, intimacy, and uncertainty that coastal dwellers face in rooting their lives in the ocean, particularly as human actions — from overfishing, to aquaculture, to warming seas — confront Maine and its people with profound change.

Fresh Fest is supported in part by the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. Fresh Fest is also sponsored by Storey Publishing and the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies.

Director: Ian Cheney

Runtime: 81 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Environmental, Free

Year: 2021

Country: United States

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"Given the political and social upheaval that Latinos face in this country, it is amazing to see a documentary that humanizes and concretely showcases those who grapple with immigration status, working long hours at a laborious job, and who attempt to juggle their personal and family life."
— Black Girl Nerds

Shown as part of Fresh Fest: A Food + Farming Film Festival
Available Friday, May 7 through Thursday, May 13 only

A Mexican-American teenager dreams of graduating high school, when increased ICE raids in her community threaten to separate her family and force her to become the breadwinner for her family. She works long days in the strawberry fields and the night shift at a food processing factory. Set in an agricultural town on the central coast of California, Fruits of Labor is a coming of age story about an American teenager traversing the seen and unseen forces that keep her family trapped in poverty.  A lyrical meditation on adolescence, nature and ancestral forces, the film asks, what does it mean to come into one’s power as a working young woman of color in the wealthiest nation in the world?

Most documentary films about farmworkers look at public personas — the political is in the rally, the strike, and the public speech. Fruits of Labor offers a new narrative about women workers that shows the nuances of how the global food system intersects with gender and family life.

Fresh Fest is supported in part by the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. Fresh Fest is also sponsored by Storey Publishing and the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies.

Featuring: Ashley Solis

Director: Emily Cohen Ibañezf

Runtime: 78 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Free, POC, Subtitled, Woman Directed

Year: 2021

Country: United States

Language: In English and Spanish with English subtitles

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Read ReviewWatch Online$12; $10 for members
“★★★★★ A MASTERPIECE. Utterly unique. A mesmerizing odyssey to the heart of existence.”
— The Guardian

“Made up of a series of related but not necessarily connected vignettes, each filmed with a static camera, they resemble New Yorker cartoons scripted by Samuel Beckett.” — Cinevue

A reflection on human life in all its beauty and cruelty, its splendor and banality.

We wander, dreamlike, gently guided by our Scheherazade-esque narrator. Inconsequential moments take on the same significance as historical events: a couple floats over a war-torn Cologne; on the way to a birthday party, a father stops to tie his daughter’s shoelaces in the pouring rain; teenage girls dance outside a cafe; a defeated army marches to a prisoner-of-war camp.

Simultaneously an ode and a lament, About Endlessness presents a kaleidoscope of all that is eternally human, an infinite story of the vulnerability of existence.

Director: Roy Andersson

Runtime: 76 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Doug’s Pick, Drama, Festival Favorite

Year: 2021

Country: Sweden

Language: In Swedish with English subtitles

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"The film wonderfully weaves personal stories with archival footage that contextualizes the continued violence against Native Americans. Healing from generational trauma sometimes starts with just one person."
— New York Times

Shown as part of Fresh Fest: A Food + Farming Film Festival

One Show Only: Wednesday, May 12 at 7:30pm
Please note: you will need to create an account on Kinema, where the film is hosted. Reserve your ticket now. Click here for tickets and to view Gather. Virtual Screening Room will open 30 minutes before the start time.

Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide.

Fresh Fest is supported in part by the Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. Fresh Fest is also sponsored by Storey Publishing and the Williams College Center for Environmental Studies.

Featuring: Twila Cassadore, Elsie DuBray Cheyenne, Nephi Craig, Sammy Gensaw, Samuel Gensaw

Director: Sanjay Rawal

Runtime: 74 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Free, POC

Year: 2021

Country: United States

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Los Hermanos / The Brothers

Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers — violinist Ilmar and pianist Aldo — live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half-century wide. Tracking their parallel lives in New York and Havana, their poignant reunion, and their momentous first performances together, Los Hermanos / The Brothers offers a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family.

Featuring an electrifying, genre-bending score, composed by Cuban Aldo López-Gavilán, performed with his American brother, Ilmar, and with guest appearances by maestro Joshua Bell and the Harlem Quartet. In capturing their reunion and electrifying first performances together, the film shows how family bonds can transcend politics.

Featuring: Aldo López-Gavilán, Ilmar López-Gavilán, Joshua Bell

Director: Marcia Jarmel & Ken Schneider

Runtime: 84 minutes

Genre: Documentary, Music, POC, Woman Directed

Year: 2021

Language: In English and Spanish with English subtitles